i+D - May/June 2019 - 36

Flexible, Functional Workplaces - By Sheila Kim

As is true in all its locations,
Shopify's Montreal work
environment focuses on
flexibility, allowing productive
employees to find a comfortable
setting, from a couch to a
bean bag chair-and anything
in between.
(Image: Claude-Simon Langlois)

For the North American headquarters of consumer-product behemoth
Unilever, Perkins+Will applied similar tactics. On Unilever's Englewood Cliffs,
New Jersey campus, the project team renovated five existing buildings, four
of which feature "neighborhoods" on every floor with different levels of
openness and vibes-from lounge-inspired furniture clusters with working
fireplaces to open spaces with long communal tables. The team unified the
same four buildings by enclosing an underutilized courtyard between them,
creating a central atrium-like structure with stepped floors that follow the
natural rock-cliff terrain of the site. Dubbed the "Marketplace"-as it offers
shops, services, and refreshments and is always bustling-the bright and airy
volume offers employees an escape, a change of scenery, or an alternative
place to meet when all the conference rooms are booked. Comprising
brands that are vastly different from each other, such as Dove, Ben & Jerry's,
and Q-tips, Unilever also relies on this space to host town halls and foster
communication-and maybe even impromptu collaboration-between
disparate teams that would otherwise never work together.

Workplace Diversity
Now Has a Second Meaning
Designed by Ontario- and Qu├ębec-based firm Linebox Studio, a trio of
offices for e-commerce company Shopify is an exemplary portfolio, each
site offering variety to help workers "get away from the daily grind,"
according to Amanda Ferguson, a partner at Linebox. Immediately adjacent
to workstations, for example, one might find a living room-like grouping
of leather couches and a coffee table. "Nooks and 'back-alley' spaces allow
every staff member to find a spot where they can tuck away, feel refreshed,
and keep their minds flowing with ideas and creativity," she explains.
These include wall niches with sound-dampening upholstered cushions
and power access, as well as fully enclosed phone rooms and other
semi-private spaces.

If there is one concept in flexible offices that divides architects, it's
ownership versus hoteling. Unilever, whose locations throughout the world
implement agile working, introduced the unassigned-desk practice in the
New Jersey office (although buildings and neighborhoods still are designated
for specific brand divisions). All desks are sit-stand to accommodate users of
different sizes and their personal work styles. Lockers on every floor further
facilitate the desk swapping by securing personal belongings and desk
accessories overnight.
Linebox's Ferguson, however, is of the opinion that "there's enough of
the unexpected in this world to have to worry about where you're going to
sit every day. Whether it's a desk or cubby, people crave a sense of place
and belonging-a home base!"

A variety of working
environments and
amenities at Unilever
results in more
productive employees.
(Image: Garrett Rowland)

36

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i+D - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - May/June 2019

i+D - May/June 2019 - Cover1
i+D - May/June 2019 - Cover2
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i+D - May/June 2019 - Cover3
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20211112
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20210910
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20210708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/asid/design_product_guide_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20210506
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20210304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20210102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20201112_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200910_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/asid/design_product_guide
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200708_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200506_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200304_french
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20191112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20191112_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190910_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190708_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190506_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190304_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190102_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20181112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20181112_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180910_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180708_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180506_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180304_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180102_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180102
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com